San Francisco—For his efforts to prove that gene therapy could one day provide lasting control of IOP in patients with glaucoma with known genetic defects, Andras M. Komáromy, PhD, DVM, was awarded the 2015 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research.
In ceremonies at last night’s Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala, George A. Cioffi, MD, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), presented the prize to Dr. Komáromy for his study, “Gene Therapy in a Spontaneous Canine Model of Primary Open Glaucoma.” As a clinician, he has a special interest in the study of molecular and cellular disease mechanisms involved in glaucoma and blinding retinal diseases.
The Shaffer Prize, presented annually by GRF, recognizes a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to better understand glaucoma. In 2013, with funding from the Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research, Dr. Komáromy sought to provide proof of principle that gene therapy could provide lasting control of normal eye pressure.
Dr. Komáromy is associate professor of ophthalmology, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Clinicians know that increased IOP contributes to glaucoma progression in a majority of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. Since some families seem to be affected more than others by glaucoma, inherited risk factors are suspected to play a vital role in the development of the disease. Through past research, several genetic defects have been identified that likely contribute to increased IOP.
In this project, Dr. Komáromy and colleagues intended to demonstrate that they could insert healthy copies of a damaged gene into the fluid drainage channels inside the eye and normalize IOP. The hope is that their research will provide proof that gene therapy could provide lasting control of normal IOP in patients with known genetic defects.
The Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research was established in 2007 to honor the late Robert N. Shaffer, MD, co-founder of GRF.